Today, the team previews continue with the New Jersey Nets whose troubles to win last season were nearly historical. Check these next few links to see why things should be a little better next season for Jordan Farmar’s new squad.
From Sebastian Pruiti, Nets Are Scorching: What are the team’s biggest strengths? The Nets’ biggest strength going into the season is going to be the play of the center and power forward. Brook Lopez is quickly becoming one of the best big men in the game, and he is only 22 years old. He averaged 18 points a game last year while facing constant double and triple teams. This year, with better players around him, Lopez is going to see less one on one coverage and should be able to take advantage. Something that doesn’t get mentioned is his health, as he hasn’t missed a single game in the first two years of his career. Troy Murphy is a former all star who is one of the best rebounders in the NBA. As mentioned earlier, he can stretch the floor, but is also able to score from the inside. Brook and Troy’s skillsets mean we should see a lot of high-low action this year, and it could be very successful.
From Nets Daily: What significant moves were made during the off-season? Since Kenyon Martin was traded in 2004, the Nets biggest weakness has been at the power forward spot. They finally addressed this glaring hole by drafting a potential stud in Derrick Favors with the third overall pick, but by also acquiring the sweet shooting lefty, Troy Murphy. Murphy will allow Favors to come along a little more slowly instead of being thrust into the starting lineup from the get-go. Acquiring Murphy did come at a price, though, as young guard Courtney Lee was shipped out in the four-team deal. It hurts to lose a young player with potential, but the emergence of Terrence Williams made him expendable.
From Dennis Velasco: What are the team’s biggest weaknesses? It’s still a young team and only have one player, Jordan Farmar, with a championship pedigree. There is a lot of that aforementioned hope, but will there be any production? On paper, everything looks good – a fairly strong starting line-up with some solid bench players, a good mix of skill sets, and record-wise, one of the best coaches in NBA history. However, there is still an air of doubt surrounding this unproven team, especially after a 12-70 season. Biggest weakness? Fear that things work out as well as free agency.
Below are today’s Lakers links:
From Janis Carr, OC Register: Derrick Caracter’s rearview mirror is crowded with blurred images of what he has left behind. They are moments the Lakers rookie doesn’t like to reflect upon, choosing instead to look at the possibilities that lay ahead. But what does the future hold for Caracter, a 21-year-old post player with a jagged past? Can he keep his weight in check? Will he be able to crack the Lakers’ rotation and Phil Jackson’s resolve of not playing rookies? Caracter realizes he faces long odds of making it in the NBA. But the former Texas-El Paso forward, taken with the No. 58 pick of the 2010 NBA Draft, is eager to be a part of the Lakers’ drive to another three-peat this season and possibly a career at this level.
From Ben Hernandez, The Examiner: The Lakers’ second round draft pick , Derrick Caracter, was able to fully guarantee the $473,000 in his contract for the 2010-11 season by meeting a weight incentive that required him to be 275 pounds or less. In addition to the added contract bonus, Caracter credits his weight maintenance to changes in his dietary habits suggested by a nutritionist. “I don’t eat red meat anymore or processed foods,” said Caracter. “I realized it doesn’t really agree with me and by not eating that stuff, I feel a lot better and have more energy.” The Lakers’ 58th pick overall experienced conditioning issues in the past, which caused his weight to fluctuate from 265 to over 300 pounds.
From Andrew Sharp, SBNation: Illustrating a much broader point about economic inequality that’s emerged in the technological age, Klein calls it the Kobe Bryant Theory of Inequality: It’s some heady stuff, and if you’d like to delve into the wormhole of this debate, then starting with this Slate series is probably a good idea. I just got a kick out seeing Kobe’s name in the midst of a serious debate about economics and technology. And Klein makes a good point. Where someone like Michael Jordan didn’t become a truly “global” celebrity until the Dream Team in 1992, today, it’s easier than ever for NBA Superstars to reach audiences abroad. This is partly because of the NBA’s push to become a more global brand, but moreso, it’s a credit to technology. The NBA’s goal would be laughable without satellite technology and broadband internet.
From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: In the wake of Team USA’s gold-medal win Sunday over Turkey at the World Championships in Istanbul, ESPN.com’s Chris Sheridan delivered his early forecast on what the roster could look like when the 2012 London games roll around. Not surprisingly, his list of guards includes Kobe Bryant. Watching Kobe help lead the U.S. on a pride-restoring run through the ’08 Olympic tourney in Beijing was great fun for many Lakers fans. It also added a summer of fairly intense play to his already loaded hoops docket. When London calls in two years, only incredibly obvious references to The Clash will be more ubiquitous than questions about Kobe’s age and mileage. He’ll be just shy of 34 years old, and in a perfect purple-and-gold world coming off yet another extended trip through the playoffs. The guy already has more wear than the average player of his age, and by the summer of ’12 could easily put another 7,000-plus minutes in the rear-view mirror.
Lastly, I came across this post on the best international dunks ever. While I feel like they left out a few really good ones, they did include a back-board shattering dunk from Michael Jordan that I hadn’t seen before. Check it out: